McHenry’s “Tyvek Tower”

A comment showed up from long-time public official (McHenry High School Board) Ned Neumann that covers a topic I’ve been interested in but haven’t gotten around to writing about.

Municipalities along the Fox River have gotten in big financial trouble subsidizing housing overlooking the river. The first I noticed was Elgin. Then came McHenry with its RiverWalk, built where the old McHenry Hospital was located.

McHenry RiverWalk from Curtis Commercial web site.

Neumann says the building is up, but the planning was so poor that there isn’t a parking place for each condo.

Here’s Neumann’s commentary:

Cal-

You’ll remember me from forty years ago when I was on the McHenry High School Board, eventually for eighteen years.

You’ve given a lot of coverage lately to the “three in a row” candidates and their opposition to the eight million dollar tax increase being voted on Tuesday, April 5.

You’re right and they are right.

As much of the current Board as possible should be replaced and the tax increase should not be approved, the problem is; there’s a much bigger story in McHenry right now.

McHenry’s equivalent of Algonquin’s Tyvek Tower continues to be a joke. It’s primarily a residential condominium complex that has grossly inadequate parking.

The failed Algonquin condo project overlooking the Fox River and Downtown

Not even one spot for each condo, no spots for the twelve stores or restaurant, no spots for a store owner or their employees, none for a guest or customer.

Problem is: the building is mostly done and some occupancy in place.

It, the building, will survive.

The question is: survive as what?

People with a hundred, or several hundred thousand dollars to spend aren’t going to buy in a building without adequate parking.

Nobody has bought in four and a half years of effort.

The few who had contracts walked away when the parking got diminished by the City Council to help the developer survive.

Since then the bank took it back, entered into a contract for its sale to a group that is requesting the City to change the developer agreement to allow them to convert it into a rental complex.

The City gave two million dollars of incentive for the developer to build a ten million dollar owner occupied residential complex and some commercial space.

Seventy five percent of it residential units.

A four story low income or Section 8 rental complex will have nowhere near the value to justify two million dollars of incentives.

We have many low income rental properties, one or more in each of our other downtowns.

We may need more.

Certainly not as the crown jewel of our RiverWalk in the absolute center of our town.

Algonquin is lucky.

Their Tyvek Tower will either be finished according to its original plan or torn down.

McHenry’s will either be finished according to its original plan or diminished into a low income rental complex, the tenants of which somehow function without cars.

There’s talk of a special City Council meeting on April 11 with the only topic on the agenda being RiverWalk Center.

The contract purchaser group speaks freely of their request for conversion to a rental complex.

The City Council has previously caved in and gave in to whatever absurd request the out-of-towner high rollers requested.

I wonder what they’ll do this time.

I hope you pay attention. Keep up the good work. Regards!!

Ned Neumann


Comments

McHenry’s “Tyvek Tower” — 2 Comments

  1. **We have many low income rental properties, one or more in each of our other downtowns. We may need more. Certainly not as the crown jewel of our RiverWalk in the absolute center of our town.**

    Wow. Offensive much? Let me rephrase this for what you really are saying.

    “McHenry has poor people, so we may need more affordable housing. But they shouldn’t get to live in a nice place. And we shouldn’t have to see them.”

    Classy.

  2. There is plenty of low income housing in McHenry. The problem is this building wasn’t built for low income. It cost more…..way more than a typical low income hud building. Our town already looks like a giant trailer park and this won’t help. More vacant stores and numerous homes being rented out instead of sold. Funny how our taxes keep going up and the value of our property and our town keeps going down.

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